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Iraq soldier, three suspected IS fighters killed in army raid

KIRKUK, IRAQ (AFP) – An Iraqi soldier was killed and an officer wounded during a counter-extremism raid in Iraq that also killed three suspected Islamic State (IS) group fighters, Baghdad’s security forces said.

The military operation in Kirkuk province, north of the Iraqi capital, targeted “three figures of the terrorist group Daesh in the Turkelan region”, the security forces said in a statement, using the Arab acronym for IS extremists.

After the suspected IS members were identified, Iraqi troops approached and a clash erupted, added the statement. The extremists “were surrounded and killed, the explosive belts they were wearing were detonated”, it said.

IS extremists seized swathes of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in 2014, which they ruled with brutality before their defeat in late 2017 by Iraqi forces backed by a United States (US)-led military coalition.

Despite the setbacks, the extremist group can still call on an underground network of fighters to carry out attacks on both sides of the porous border, the United Nations said.